So this, apparently, is how it goes:
- In 1994, when he was not Prime Minister, a politician agreed to hand over the reins to his second-in-command during his second term as PM.
- Once in power, said politician reneged on his agreement – which would have required him to step aside between the 1998 and 2001 elections.
- The second-in-command, apart from a minor feint from time to time, remained in place and contributed to the perception of a stable and effective Government, while his leader contested three more elections (2001, 2004, 2007), with the final one ending in the defeat of both leader and Government.
- Fourteen years after the original agreement, and at least seven years after it became clear that said agreement would not be honoured, the second-in-command seeks redress by writing a book in which he details the betrayal he suffered.
Mr Costello – you, sir, are a loser. There is no other way to describe your character. You believed the assurances of an accomplished liar when he told you he would voluntarily let go power – for your own good and for that of your party. And when it became obvious that his self-interest trumped any commitments he had made, you failed to make any meaningful attempt to hold him to account. You stood by as not one, not two, but three opportunities passed by, in a profession where the most fundamental principle is that to gain power, you need to pursue it.
Some might argue that this demonstrates your loyalty to your party – that you put maintaining an effective Government above your own needs. But that possibility has been demolished by your total antipathy in recent months.
It is time to quit. You are not cut out for this business, and you have gone far beyond the point of appearing foolish.